When I saw that she had passed, my first recollection was of watching her in the movie 1,000,000 Years B.C. I watched it on the midnight monster movie that I was forbidden to watch.

Of course, at twelve in 1968, I saw her without the fur bikini in my wicked little mind’s eye. And I believe I shucked off my pajamas too to give her full naked support as she fought and ran from the dinosaurs.

I was wrapped in my quilt, though, because Iowa can be cold after midnight, and I never knew if somebody upstairs would hear the television playing the movie real low and the commercials with the sound off so they could come halfway down the stairs and yell at me.

She was my idea of a perfect woman.

And I never actually saw her completely naked. Just like I never saw Annette Funicello au naturel. I bought Playboy magazines in college because Raquel was in them. But she was never fully naked in any of them. You don’t actually need to see that to know she’s perfect.

But even perfect people don’t last forever. Especially when they’ve already lasted for more than eighty years.

And people I really thought might last forever began proving that no one is immortal. First George Burns some time ago fell short of his 100th birthday. And my father died in 2020, shortly before he turned 90. And my mother died in 2021. And Betty White didn’t make 100 either.

So, there is no immortality. Not that you can prove in anyone who physically, provably exists… or ever existed. And now Raquel Welch is also gone.

And I think about my own mortality. And I slowly shake my head.

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